Your phone contains a “virtual card” that may be used to make contactless payments in stores or online. This “virtual card” has its own special card number, expiration date, and CVC. An image of your actual bank card that is saved on your phone is referred to as a “digital card.” Digital cards can be used with Apple Pay or Google Pay and have the same card number, expiration date, and CVC as your actual bank card. A virtual card that can only be used once is called a “disposable card.” After you make a purchase, the card information is no longer valid.
Introducing virtual credit cards. A digital credit card made for one-day use that hides the numbers on a real credit card is known as a virtual credit card. Your actual card account information is protected in the event of a data breach because when you use a virtual card, the merchant can only view and store the data of the temporary card.
Your online transactions are made more secure by using virtual cards. The majority of card issuers now provide users the opportunity to create virtual cards, and any online retailer that accepts credit card payments will accept them.
The simplest way to conceptualize a virtual credit card could be to visualize your physical credit card as nothing more than a 16-digit primary account number. You probably already know how this works because you’ve been asked to read your card number over the phone or enter it when making purchases online.
A virtual card, however, differs from a physical card in that it does not have the same security restrictions. Your true account number can be protected using virtual cards, which can produce a different card number for each transaction you complete. Since they are often only meant to be used once, even if a business with which you have done business experienced a data breach and your card information was obtained, your actual account would not be at risk.
Virtual playing cards offer a lot more freedom. Setting spending restrictions, changing your card number on the fly, locking or deleting a card number, and creating new card numbers for other retailers are all options that won’t have an impact on your actual account. Virtual cards, however, can only be used for certain types of phone transactions, online purchases, and (if you link your virtual card to Apple Pay or Google Pay) in some physical stores that accept those payment methods.
Every time you create a new virtual card or modify the virtual card number that you are using to make a purchase, a temporary card is generated. When you make a purchase from a merchant, they see your card number. These temporary cards typically only expire for 24 hours, while some providers may keep a temporary card on file for up to a year.
In order to increase security, virtual cards replace your physical card number with a temporary account number. This reduces the possibility that a compromise will reveal your actual card information.